Drilling Proposal Leaves Arctic in Limbo



Image Credit: WWF

In response to the Obama administration’s proposal to include America’s Arctic in its five-year offshore drilling plan, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the following statement today from Margaret Williams, managing director of US Arctic programs:

“Last week the US and Canada committed to strong science and bold decisions to address climate and the changing Arctic. That’s the good news. This week the Obama administration reaffirmed its intentions but delivered nothing in the way of definitive decisions about the Arctic’s future. This is especially true when it comes to conservation and offshore oil and gas. The job is not done until those decisions are made and those decisions need to happen soon, because every month matters.

“The administration needs to use every opportunity in the time it has left to ensure that the Arctic’s future is one that balances conservation of precious natural resources with the best possible future for the people that live there.”

By World Wildlife Fund

First-ever Sustainable Seafood Week to launch in the Philippines



A fisher in Tinambac, Philippines cleans his catch. (Credit: Rare)

This month, Rare Philippines, a grantee of Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative and USAID, are joining with others to launch the first-ever Sustainable Seafood Week in the Philippines. This effort works to reverse the trend of overexploited or depleted fish stocks in the Coral Triangle.

The week-long celebration, from February 15-21, features events that highlight the key role of restaurants and hotels in ensuring that the seafood they serve is being sourced from sustainable wild-caught and farmed fisheries. Importantly, these hospitality partners are committed to sourcing those species that are available and sustainable, rather than those that may be traditionally served. This necessitates creative chefs practicing a new paradigm for seafood sourcing and consumption. The week’s events include technical workshops, cooking demos, and buffet presentations at the participating hotels and restaurants.

While the waters in the Philippines are rich with marine life, more than 90% of Philippine fish stocks are seriously plundered or diminished, due to overfishing, pollution and destructive or illegal fishing practices. Rare, the non-government organization that has been working with over 35 municipalities in the Philippines, is helping local leaders set up better fishery and protected area management systems, and inspire behavior change among fishers and their communities.

“It’s hard for fishers to change their behaviors—the pressures of earning a living daily are just too great,” said VP for the Philippines Rocky Sanchez Tirona. “But with support from private companies, their customers, and ultimately, the diners who patronize them, we hope to create better incentives for fishers to do the right thing.”

In one of the featured workshops during the week-long event, Rare Philippines will showcase just what it will take for a community of small-scale fishers in Antique to become more sustainable. Hosted by the Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas and The Café at Hyatt City of Dreams, ‘From the Fisher to the Diner’ will demonstrate the challenges faced by artisanal fishermen all over the Philippines, and the kinds of conservation solutions they need to implement in order to reverse the decline in their fish stocks. Recognizing that the market will have an important role to play in encouraging fishers to fish more sustainably, Rare and its partners will lay out a vision for the future—one in which buyers support fishers who fish the right species and sizes, use the right gear, and fish in the right places, and where fishers and traders earn more when they comply with these new criteria.

Proponents of Sustainable Seafood Week include the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, USAID, Meliomar Inc., Blueyou, Center for Sustainability, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, PEMSEA, Rare, Fish Forever, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, together with leading hotels and restaurants such as the Shangri-La Hotels, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, Marco Polo Ortigas, Marriott Manila Hotel, The Peninsula Manila, Fairmont Raffles, New World Makati, Le Club, Catch, Hooch, Vask, Disciples Escoffier, and Enderun. In a joint statement, they shared the objective of Sustainable Seafood Week:

“We, the participants of the Sustainable Seafood Week, come together to declare our commitment to improve the health of our oceans by pursuing responsible business practices in the sourcing of seafood products from more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

“The future of seafood is in the hands of people preparing the fish while ensuring that fresh sustainable seafood is available for their valued customers to enjoy. And we call upon consumers to do their share by being vigilant and conscious about the seafood that they are eating.”

Source: Rare, VOI

World’s Largest Surf Demo Benefiting California State Parks Returns





SURFING Magazine and Surf Ride have teamed up once again to bring Camp Shred, the world’s largest surf demo, back to San Elijo Campground in Cardiff By the Sea, Calif., February 27 and 28. The annual event, now in its fourth year, brings the best surf brands and thousands of loyal consumers for a fun weekend of camping, surfing and demoing the latest greatest gear, all while giving back to California State Parks.

Major purchases like wetsuits, surfboards and other surf gear can be expensive, so the chance to try before you buy is key. Camp Shred features many of the top brands sharing their newest shapes, designs and products including: Sector 9, Arbor Skateboards, Surftech Surfboards, SP Gadgets, Sun Bum, Raen, Quiksilver, Surface Sun Systems, Creatures of Leisure, Otis Eyewear, Chemistry Surfboards, Super Surfboards, Panda Surfboards, Boardworks and more!

But the fun doesn’t stop with the free demo opportunities. The festival-like demo site will also feature music and entertainment, food trucks and the always-popular Saint Archer beer garden.

The free and open to the public event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Proceeds from the Saint Archer beer garden will benefit California State Parks, specifically the Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches (FCCSB).

For updates, details, directions and more, visit campshred.com.

Source: TEN

Millions Awarded for Coral Reef Conservation



NOAA awards more than $8 million in grants and cooperative agreements for coral reef conservation this year. Funded projects will support efforts in seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean and Micronesia. (Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA)

NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program awarded more than $8.4 million in grants and cooperative agreements in 2015 to support conservation projects and scientific studies that benefit coral reef management across seven U.S. states and territories, the Caribbean and Micronesia.

All of the projects focused on the three primary threats to coral reefs: global climate change, land-based sources of pollution and unsustainable fishing practices, as well as priority coral reef regions and watersheds.

Funded projects include grants to reduce sediment and improve water quality in U.S Virgin Islands, work with communities in Hawaii to address threats to coral reefs, support coral reef ecosystem conservation in Puerto Rico, and strengthen outreach and education efforts.

Projects also include work to assess coral reef resiliency to climate change in multiple locations. Earlier this year, NOAA declared the third global coral bleaching event, an event leading to the loss of huge areas of coral across the U.S., as well as internationally. While corals can recover from mild bleaching, severe or long-term bleaching is often lethal, especially when combined with other threats.

“Healthy coral reefs are important to all of us. They provide billions of dollars in income, and coastal protection and resiliency to communities around America and other goods and services. Conservation of these resources is a key factor in the resilience of coastal communities,” said Jennifer Koss, director of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. “The projects funded through NOAA’s grants program allow us to strengthen our ties with local partners, address the most pressing threats to corals, and broaden our conservation efforts.”

Coral Reef Conservation Program awards fall into five broad categories:

State and Territorial Cooperative Agreements that sustain coral reef management and monitoring in the states and territories of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fishery Management Council Agreements to improve sustainable coral fisheries management in cooperation with managing agencies.

Domestic Coral Reef Conservation Grants that address key coral reef issues and scientific gaps identified by local management agencies and partners.

International Coral Reef Conservation Cooperative Agreements to build local coral reef management capacity and support coral reef monitoring.

Competitive Awards made to partner organizations, as well as a public-private partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Nearly half of the funds awarded this year directly support coral reef conservation projects led by state and territorial resource management agencies. Other conservation projects are led by non-governmental organizations, community groups, and academic partners. A limited number of international projects focused in Micronesia, Mesoamerica and the wider Caribbean region were also supported.

“It’s exciting to fund smart and innovate projects led by partners who are working across disciplines to make a positive impact on the condition of the world’s coral reefs,” said Jenny Waddell, coordinator of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s grants portfolio. “There are surely a lot of challenges ahead for coral reefs, but by studying, managing and conserving them in a collaborative way, we are all helping ensure coral reefs continue to survive and thrive.”

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program awarded nearly $103 million of federal funding through competitive funding opportunities since 2002.

Beginning in 2000, the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to cooperatively fund priority coral conservation projects, and to seek additional investment from other federal agencies, industry and private donors whenever possible.

All proposals submitted for funding underwent extensive and rigorous technical review before final decisions were reached. The program anticipates making a similar amount of federal funding available in fiscal year 2016.

For more information on 2016 funding opportunities, visit: http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcrcp/workwithus/funding/grants/welcome.html

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems for future generations.

For more information visit http://coralreef.noaa.gov/

Source: NOAA

Erik Abel launches World Surf Reserve Prints to Benefit Save The Waves





Artist Erik Abel has designed a series of prints featuring famed global surf breaks to benefit coastal conservation nonprofit Save The Waves.

Abel, who is an Artist Ambassador for Save The Waves, designed a series of prints commemorating the four most recent World Surf Reserves that Save The Waves has protected through their programs. Each print features an iconic symbol of the location, honoring both the break and local culture.

Abel inside of an Indonesian Gem. Image: abelarts.com
Abel inside of an Indonesian Gem. Image: abelarts.com

The World Reserves Program (WSR) is designed to identify, designate, and preserve outstanding waves, surf zones, and surrounding environments throughout the world. Save The Waves has partnered with local communities to implement seven WSRs to date. By creating these WSRs, Save The Waves is able to support the protection of key environmental, cultural, economic, and community attributes of surfing areas.

The vibrant 12”x18” prints are printed on premium 80# stock paper that is FSC-Certified and acid-free. They are available for sale at savethewaves.org for $20 each or $70 for the set, with sales benefitting Save The Waves’ ongoing conservation work.

“Save The Waves is one of the most effective organizations out there, “says Abel of his nonprofit partner. “The work they do towards conserving these legendary spots is critical and long lasting. I’m honored my art can raise funds for such a great cause.”

In addition to designing these prints, Abel is the artist behind Save The Waves’ 2015 Life Is A Wave artwork, their Lobos Por Siempre campaign swag, and 2013 Patagonia Cause T-shirt.

Save the Waves - Abel Arts

Source: Abel Arts

About Erik Abel: Erik Abel is a surfer and internationally recognized artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Abel finds inspiration in the ocean and nature and has focused his career on supporting environmental causes through his work. His original artwork is featured in galleries across the country. His licensing and design clients include Billabong, Reef, REI, Sector 9, and Patagonia. Original paintings, illustrations, and commercial design work can be viewed at abelarts.com

SALT LIFE continues its commitment to marine conservation



Image: Roatan Marine Park

Salt Life, one of today’s leading lifestyle brands, has announced a partnership with the Roatan Marine Park (RMP), located in the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras. The partnership will encompass ongoing efforts in raising awareness and aid in the care and preservation of the reef and marine ecological system on and around the Island of Roatan. For further information, please visit Roatan Marine Park.

Salt Life will provide needed resources to RMP from content generation, apparel for staff, social media outreach and various other contributions. Salt Life President Jeff Stillwell, an avid diver and conservationist, says, “Without preservation, education and conservation, our mission is moot. Living the Salt Life is a way of life and with our relationship with RMP, we are able to provide funding and awareness to one of the world’s largest reefs.”

“We are looking forward to building this relationship and working closely with the team on the Island of Roatan. We are also excited to bring our Salt Life team members to the area to film the ongoing efforts of this beautiful and important area of the world,” he continues.

Giacomo Palavicini, Executive Director of Roatan Marine Park adds, “We are honored and thrilled to have Salt Life partner with us. We are a rapidly developing island and face a number of challenges daily. Our focus on engaging diverse community stakeholders to aid in developing solutions that can ensure long-term, sustainable management of our natural resources is paramount in achieving our mission.”

The Roatan Marine Park (RMP) started in 2005 as a grassroots, community based, non-profit organization and is now internationally recognized with 501c3 status in the USA.

The RMP is also one of 13 co-managers of the National Marine Park of the Bay Islands. The aim is to work together with local NGO’s to protect natural resources for the future.

The RMP’s focus is on developing solutions that ensure long term, sustainable management of natural resources. The RMP recognizes that long term resource sustainability can only be achieved through improved education, community empowerment and participation.

The scope of work the organization undertakes to preserve and protect the area ranges from marine infrastructure, patrolling, education and community development plus extensive involvement in many other environmental efforts.

The focus of these programs is to protect the reef by reducing over fishing, endangered species trade, pollution and other harmful risks by providing sustainable options, alternative livelihoods and raising awareness. This is all achieved by education and empowerment of the local communities and tourists alike.

For more information visit www.roatanmarinepark.net.

Salt-life-logo

Source: Salt Life

United for Wildlife, Google.org and ARM unite to launch conservation technology network





United for Wildlife, with support from Google.org and ARM, today launched a conservation technology network to close the information-sharing gap in the fight against illegal wildlife trade and other pressing issues facing our planet. The online network will foster a global community of users to share best practices and to identify technology-based solutions to evolving conservation challenges.

WILDLABS.NET is a new digital portal designed to connect conservationists, technologists, engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to support them to find, share and create effective technology-based solutions to protect threatened wildlife and habitats.

The threats to our natural world have never been greater. Populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by more than half in the past 40 years. One of the most arduous challenges is stopping the poaching epidemic, with illegal wildlife trade – worth at least $10 billion per year – driving poaching and decimating wildlife populations. Elephants, rhinos, tigers and other animals are being wiped out, while national and regional economies suffer.

The good news is that technology is enabling conservationists to develop new – and to scale up existing – responses to major threats like poaching. However, United for Wildlife partners recognized that the lack of information sharing and direct links between technologists and those working on the front lines of conservation presented a critical barrier to progress. Until now, data and lessons learned from research and development, field tests and implementation of technology tools are often kept within individual organizations.

WILDLABS.NET aims to close the collective information gap.

With a mobile-friendly interface, WILDLABS.NET allows users who range from field-based conservation biologists to engineers in urban hubs to conveniently interact with fellow technology developers, scientists and conservationists on a regular basis. Users can manage their own profile and content, and are able to review and discuss showcased technologies. WILDLABS allows for connectivity and collaboration on a scale never seen before in the conservation technology space.

Ian Ferguson, vice president, worldwide marketing and strategic alliances, ARM, said, “Technology is already being used to help protect the planet’s vital resources and now we are helping to accelerate these advances to protect threatened species and habitats. By bringing together experts from multiple sectors we can create solutions to challenges that have proven impossible to solve in isolation. Whether that is by enabling communities to apply new tools in protecting their natural resources, transforming our understanding of wildlife and natural systems through tracking and listening technologies or supporting the detection and prevention of poaching in protected areas, technology can be a powerful tool for the conservation cause.”

Gavin Shelton, head of conservation labs at Fauna & Flora International (FFI), one of the seven conservation organizations of United for Wildlife, said “There is much cause for optimism as WILDLABS.NET goes live. This is an exciting phase of a deeply collaborative journey with many people from different sectors, geographies and disciplines. We all understand that cooperation is the key to accelerating the pace and scale at which we develop new solutions to biodiversity loss. Through the growing WILDLABS.NET community, we can discover and implement those solutions, together.”

Rachel Kramer, WWF’s senior program officer, wildlife conservation and TRAFFIC, added, “21st century conservation requires breaking out of silos to confront 21st century threats. We aim to leverage growing global internet access to connect researchers in remote parts of Africa to software engineers in California. We’re building the infrastructure – a vibrant community of experts will make WILDLABS.NET the go-to resource on technology tools that save species.”

To learn more about WILDLABS.NET and to sign up, visit: WILDLABS.NET.

Source: World Wildlife Fund

Stream2Sea Introduces an Eco Safe Sunscreen





When the Washington Post and Time magazine both published articles warning about sunscreens killing coral reefs, it didn’t surprise Stream2Sea founder Autumn Blum. “The damage caused by benzophenone (also known as oxybenzone) had already been documented in previous reports,” she said. “The really big thing with this latest research was that such a tiny concentration could cause such extensive damage and the multiple ways it impacted coral reefs.” Miniscule concentrations — about 62 parts per trillion — damaged nearly half of the coral larva exposed to it in a lab setting and researchers documented significantly higher concentrations in waters near reefs in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.

An award-winning cosmetic chemist, Blum introduces a new eco-safe alternative in sunscreen that exceeds the current “coral reef safe” standards. The two new skus, Sunscreen for Body with SPF 30 and Sunscreen for Face & Body with SPF 20, are both biodegradable, mineral-based and designed for high-performance with water resistance for 80 minutes of swimming or activity. With a potent antioxidant blend of Green Tea, Tulsi, Wakame and Olive leaf, the formula is non greasy and won’t burn eyes.

After learning that common cosmetic ingredients were killing coral reefs, she was surprised to find out how many other ingredients were toxic in marine ecosystems. Research on other ingredients was so sadly lacking that Blum teamed up with researchers from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg – her alma mater – to conduct a series of pioneering tests on organisms ranging from the microscopic C. elegans to several fish species and live coral larva collected in the Florida Keys.

stream2sea-sunscreenAfter hundreds of hours of research and reformulations, nematodes and freshwater fish came through with flying colors — but the more-vulnerable coral larva posed even greater challenges. Eckerd Professor Dr. Koty Sharp and a team of divers collected coral at Mote Marine’s Tropical Research Station on Summerland Key. When the corals released larvae, they were placed into dishes with substrates proven to attract them.

“We’ve been working with the Smithsonian Institution researchers to identify different processes and organisms that allow for successful recruitment of coral larvae – and some of them are very picky,” Sharp said. “While other sunscreens with benzophenones did appear to inhibit recruitment, we did not find any evidence for statistically significant lethal toxicity to the larvae or for statistically significant inhibition of settlement in the larvae with Stream2Sea products.”

Blum is reluctant to use the term “reef safe” because there are too many variables to make an absolute statement without prohibitively expensive testing. “For instance, common ingredients that we would never use – like parabens, cinnamates and camphor derivatives – stimulate dormant viral infections in the symbiotic algae that provide nutrients to coral. There’s no way to test all ingredients on all the phytoplankton, tiny crustaceans and micro-organisms that live with coral and are important to a healthy reef.”

Stream2Sea has set a new standard for EcoConscious sunscreen and skincare. Along with standard human safety and SPF tests, Stream2Sea products are proven to be biodegradable in both salt and fresh water. They also successfully passed the most comprehensive series of aquatic toxicity tests documented in literature using real-world concentrations on organisms ranging from the microscopic C. elegans to fish and vulnerable coral larva. Formulated with powerful antioxidant blends to protect skin from sun damage, includes sunscreens, conditioning shampoo and body wash, leave-in conditioner, nourishing body lotion and lip balms. Stream2Sea products are currently available online at http://www.Stream2Sea.com or ask for them at your favorite health food store, dive shop or outdoor retailer. Friend us on Facebook or call (866) 960-9513.

Source: Stream2Sea

Green Blue celebrates 10th anniversary



© 2015 Emily Whiting

The Green Blue, the joint environmental initiative of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Marine on September 18th celebrated 10 years of successfully helping boat users, boating businesses, sailing clubs and training centres reduce their impact on coastal and inland waters to keep them in great shape for now and the future!

The Green Blue, with support from The Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Programme, raises environmental awareness and identifies eco-friendly products to make boating in the UK as sustainable as possible. Launched on 18 September 2005, the small Hamble-based team also offers help, guidance and even money saving tips for anyone who wishes to help keep our coasts and inland waters the pleasant places that we enjoy so much.

Speaking at the 10th Anniversary Celebrations as part of the 2015 Southampton Boat Show, The Green Blue Project Manager Jane Swan said: “What a difference a decade makes! It only seems like yesterday that global yachtsman Mike Golding and artist Pippa Blake were launching The Green Blue and in 2015 it’s amazing to think that the project is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

“Of course, awareness of environmental issues has increased over the past decade, so to some extent we have been able to capitalise on new generations of boaters who have grown up with a more willing understanding and acceptance of how important simple changes are, from turning off taps and switching appliances off standby to recycling and upcycling.

“But if you take a look around most sailing clubs and marinas today, it’s clear that the boating sector has really taken to environmental change. You’ll find LED lighting along pontoons, smart meters, waste management facilities with different receptacles for every type of boat waste, solar panels visible on many marina office roofs and yacht decks, on board wind turbines, hybrid engines, inline bilge filters and even electric car charging points in marina car parks.”

greenblue-ryaThe RYA and British Marine were joined at the 10th anniversary celebrations by key project supporters, working partners, and a number of marine sector organisations that have championed sustainable boating and helped to promote the success of The Green Blue over the past decade – such as Sunsail, Powerboat P1, and Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR). Guests also included The Green Blue ambassadors Lady Pippa Blake and Mike Golding OBE.

But there is still more work to be done to protect the future sustainability of our marine ecosystem. By working towards an environmentally self-regulating boating community, The Green Blue aims to make efficiency savings, avoid red tape, help boaters and boating businesses minimise their impact on the environment, and safeguard the waters and habitats we enjoy and rely on for the future.

Making the environment second nature has not been a quick fix but rather a voyage of small but meaningful transformations. A decade on and it’s exciting to think how much has been achieved and what further changes might be possible by 2025!

You can meet the team and find out more about The Green Blue’s incredible journey at www.thegreenblue.org.uk or to find out more about sustainable boating call 023 8060 4273 or email jane.swan@thegreenblue.org.uk.

Source: RYA